Guests danced to the sound of Golpe Tierra’s upbeat music during social hour at the first annual “Share the Word” event. Share the Word is a gathering of Madison-area poets, writers, spoken-word performers and storytellers to network and share their work and new ideas.

“Share the Word” is an event from the Library Takeover competition designed to encourage the community to takeover the library by providing space, time, and resources for community members to host events that reflect the different cultures and interests in Madison.

Photo by Martin Jenich
Photo by Martin Jenich

During the social hour, guests were also able to request poems from participating writers/poets at a Spontaneous Writing Booth. Guests give the writer a word or phrase, and the writer takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to write a unique piece.

“Tonight’s event was designed to bring our community together, so we welcome you to the first ever Share the Word,” host Oscar Mireles said as he welcomed guests. Following the social hour, attendees were invited to enjoy poetry readings from several local poets and writers including Katrin Talbot, Rob DZ, current Madison Poet Laureate Oscar Mireles, Buggin’ Malone, and former Madison Poet laureate Fabu Phyllis Carter.

Oscar Mireles’ recitation of his poem, “Lost and Found Language”, which tells the story of how he lost his native tongue and the difficulties he experienced once he decided to relearn it, filled the room with emotion.

“I totally cried during Oscar’s last poem,” guest Dana Maya said. “His last poem talked about lost language and the loss of language. I’m Mexican American, my family is Mexican, so that poem obviously strikes me in a very tender place. Many of our brown and black peoples were colonized peoples and have lost language. But tonight in these events, we gravitate towards events where we make language.

Maya believes that new languages and powerful connections are created in safe spaces much like the one the Share the Word event created.

“Being in a place where a lot of the populations come together as we make new language was powerful to me. We treasure these moments of creative expression in public spaces that we know are under threat, so we feel the revolutionary power of the library,” Maya said. “These kinds of events are quiet revolutions. And the fact that they did a library take over  was a cool way to say ‘Hey, This quiet space really has a loud potential!’